Petition to save Northampton's Hope Centre is gathering 500 names a day
A petition to save Northampton's Hope Centre from being evicted has gathered 3,500 names in a week after a backlash from its service users.
Last week patron of the homeless charity Sally Keeble revealed it had been given orders to leave Oasis House - the purpose-built home it has occupied for six years - by its landlords, Midland Heart.
Among a host of services The Hope Centre runs a day centre, offers housing advice and has only recently launched the Hope Food Club, offering affordable groceries to people on the breadline.
Midland Heart says its decision to evict the charity comes as part of a drive to actually increase provision for homeless people in the town by working with other services and expanding the temporary accommodation available at Oasis House.
But Mrs Keeble's petition to keep the Hope Centre in Campbell Street, launched last Friday, is gathering 500 names a day at its current rate.
"I was staggered by how fast this has grown," she said.
"There is huge anger from right across the town over what is being proposed.
"I think the council and Midland Heart will need to think again.
"I have not seen a petition take off like that before."
Mrs Keeble intends to present the petition at a future meeting of Northampton Borough Council.
A statement earlier in the week also saw the authority express an interest in relocating its rough sleeper nightshelter in St Andrews Road to Oasis House after it is vacated by the Hope Centre.
David Taylor, executive director of operations, Midland Heart said:“As levels of homelessness continue to rise we have worked with a range of partner organisations to look at ways to not only greatly increase the quality of accommodation available at Oasis House but to offer more support to help people move on with their lives, find employment and secure a permanent home. These services in many cases are what turn people’s lives around and as such we want to ensure that we give residents of Oasis House as much access as possible to this support network.
“To increase the life-changing support available to people living in Oasis House we are making changes. Unfortunately, this includes asking Hope Centre to find new premises over the course of the next year. We have advised the Hope Centre of this change at the earliest possible opportunity and will ensure that their staff continue to have access to Oasis House in the future to deliver their important work.”
The petition can be signed here.